Thursday, July 26, 2012

Horchata Recipe

A couple of years ago, my Mexican coworker, Diana, introduced me to Horchata.  Horchata is a Mexican sweetened rice milk beverage with cinnamon and vanilla flavoring.  To be honest, I wasn't all that crazy about it. What I remembered about it was that it wasn't very sweet and tasted watered down to me.  I've since have had it a few more times but the problem is that I can't remember which Mexican restaurant has the more sweetened version that I liked.  The other day, I stopped by a taco truck on the way home from work and ordered a horchata with my burrito and tacos.  Heaven is all I can say about their horchata.  It was so delicious that I forgot how much I really liked it.  Since that day, I'd been craving horchata so I found this recipe and decided to make my own.  I read through the reviews and adapted the recipe based on my taste and the reviews.

1 cup long grain white rice
5 cups water
cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar (1/2 cup if you want it less sweet as you can always add more later)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a blender, blend the rice and water for a couple of minutes.  The water will turn an opaque milky white color.  I didn't have a full sized blender so I used my smoothie blender (had to blend the rice and water in two batches) so, for me, the rice didn't get broken up into pieces, which I don't think really matters unless it affects the taste.

After you're finished blending, pour the water and rice combination into a container.  Throw in two or three cinnamon sticks (I used two but ended up adding ground cinnamon to the finished batch because I like it more cinnamony).  If you don't have cinnamon sticks, you can use ground cinnamon but it won't blend well and will end up floating to the top but you will still get the flavor.  The ground cinnamon will change the color of the horchata to more of a brown color.  Let it sit out for at least five hours (overnight would be best) in room temperature (unless the room is really hot and you don't have a/c :) 

Once the mixture is ready, filter the liquid into a pitcher or carafe using a sieve or coffee filter.  I didn't have a sieve so I used my one-cup coffee filter which helped to catch any bits and pieces of rice or cinnamon sticks (I broke my cinnamon sticks into pieces).

I heated up the milk for one minute in the microwave and then stirred in the sugar and vanilla extract.  The heated milk will help the sugar dissolve easier than the room temperature rice water. 

Pour the sugared milk into the rice water and stir.  Serve immediately over ice or chill and serve later.

-I found cinnamon sticks in the Latin food aisle at the grocery store for 99 cents a package (for 3 sticks) opposed to $5.49 for 9 sticks at Target and $7.99 at said grocery store.

-I did a taste test and realized it wasn't sweet enough for my taste (I originally added in 1/2 cup sugar and later added in another 1/8 cup) so I poured some of my homemade horchata into a bowl, heated it up for one minute in the microwave and then stirred another 1/8 cup of sugar.  Perfecto!

-I also used the leftover rice instead of throwing it out and made a rice pudding using this recipe.  Read through the comments to get some tips for the rice pudding as that helped me a lot.  I'll try to put up the recipe in another post in a bit to make it easier for you. 

I'm not sure of the number of servings as you can see in the picture, the recipe didn't fill up my carafe but you can always double the recipe.  Since it's just me, this will tie me over for a day or two.  

Hope you guys enjoyed this recipe as much as me :)

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